Born October 24, 1951, in Columbia, South Carolina, Herbert Nicholson joined the Army in 1972. Following basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced individual training at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland he served as a recovery vehicle crewman and recovery sergeant in A Company, 3rd Battalion, 36th Infantry, 3rd Armored Division in Germany from 1972 to 1977. Nicholson then returned to the United States to serve as Motor Sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, from 1978 to 1979. Remaining at Fort Hood, he served as Motor Sergeant in the 190th Heavy Maintenance Company until 1980.
Nicholson returned to Germany as Motor Sergeant for D Battery, 2/62nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion until 1982. Returning to the United States, he was assigned as the Motor Sergeant for the 62nd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) at Fort Bliss, Texas. He continued his troop service at Fort Bliss as First Sergeant of the 233rd Transportation Company (Heavy Truck). In 1987, he was assigned to Korea where he served as First Sergeant of B Company, 2nd Supply and Transportation Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.
In 1988, Nicholson returned to the United States and graduated from the US Army Sergeants Major Academy in 1989. He then traveled to APG to be the Operations Sergeant of the 61st Ordnance Brigade and then the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the End-of-Course Testing Branch, Directorate of Evaluation and Standardization. In 1990, while still at APG, he served as First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 601st Ordnance Battalion.
Nicholson next embarked on a series of demanding assignments as a Command Sergeant Major, starting in 1990 with the 13th Supply and Service Battalion, part of the 2nd Corps Support Command in Germany where he deployed with the battalion for Operation Desert Shield/Storm. In late 1991, the battalion relocated to Fort Benning, Georgia, and was redesignated the 13th Corps Support Battalion. In 1993, Nicholson again deployed with the battalion, this time to Somalia. In 1994, he went back to Germany to serve as Command Sergeant Major of Combat Equipment Group, Europe, moving with the group to Kerkrade in the Netherlands in December 1995.
In 1996, he returned to the United States to serve as Command Sergeant Major of the 24th Corps Support Group, supporting the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. In 1997, Nicholson was selected to be the Command Sergeant Major of the US Army Tank, Automotive, and Armaments Command (TAACOM),Warren, Michigan. In this assignment, he was the principal advisor to the Commanding General on Soldier and morale issues in a command containing 200 Soldiers and 11,000 Department of the Army Civilians. While assigned to TAACOM, he mentored five other Sergeants Major in the TAACOM organization and devised a Delayed Entry Program with the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion that greatly boosted enlistments. CSM Nicholson retired in 2003 after 30 years of dedicated service to the Army and the Ordnance Corps.